Losses and stressful changes or challenges are part of life. They make us feel sad, lonely, depressed. Often, such a stressful situation can be sustained and processed. If not, then it comes to a depression. This differs from a current mood low: Who suffers from depression, is only limited resilient and everyday tasks cannot be mastered.
Depression – and its special forms – can affect everyone, regardless of age, gender, occupation and personal circumstances. Those affected are not losers, not lazy or self-pitying, they suffer from a serious illness. If it is recognized, it is treatable in most cases. It is important to talk about depression.
How is depression manifested?
Depression usually begins slowly. This makes it so difficult to recognize. The main hallmarks are a persistent or recurring sad mood, the feeling of inner emptiness, thinking, concentration and sleep disorders. The resulting emotional, physical and mental fatigue can also make you irritable, angry and inwardly restless. Depression can lead to loss of appetite and significantly reduce or even reduce the craving for physical closeness and sexuality. Depressed people lose the joy and interest in life. Everyday tasks, work commitments, leisure activities, social contacts are increasingly neglected. The need for retreat becomes central, many affected people can hardly get out of the house, resp. to get out of bed and spend a lot of time sleeping. Also, physical complaints can occur without professionals can determine a cause for it. Depression has many faces, different symptoms are different. Excessive alcohol, drug or drug use is partly a self-healing attempt to deal with depression or anxiety.
Depression varies in severity
There is mild, moderate and severe depression. In mild depression, the expectations of the private and professional environment can usually be met, from the outside is often not apparent. In a moderate depression, it is already difficult. It increasingly comes to errors, unreliability, failures. Agreements and appointments are increasingly being canceled. In case of a severe depression, almost everything is neglected. Everyday tasks such as getting up, showering, going to the toilet, cooking, eating, cleaning, etc. are almost impossible. Social contacts are no longer maintained.
What is a burnout?
Burnout means burned out, overwhelmed, totally exhausted. These symptoms also correspond to those of diagnosed depression. Burnout, however, makes a difference in the cause. It is believed that fatigue is primarily due to persistent stress at work (even unpaid). It is, therefore, a work-related disorder that involves both additional workloads in gainful employment as well as in educational and family work and the care of demented parents. A burnout is also called exhaustion depression.
A special form: the bipolar disorder
There are people who go through depressive phases, but in addition, they experience something completely different: phases in which they are doing extremely well. One speaks then of a bipolar affective disorder (= manic-depressive illness). In the manic phases, those affected do things that they would never otherwise do: spending money, for example, exceeding their financial resources enormously, or quitting the job overnight. At the same time, sleep is extremely reduced. People in mania lose their sense of reality, feel constrained by normal social boundaries and disregard them. Often it comes during the manic phase to a hospital admission.
The change from mania to depression is often sudden. Some sufferers have only one manic episode. In the majority, however, it comes to repetitions, often spread over several years.
What helps with a depressive illness?
Mental illnesses are treatable. For most, a combination of psychotherapy, medication and family counseling is the most effective. In seasonal depressions, light therapies may promote recovery. In a bipolar disorder is often not a psychotherapy in the strict sense, but a coaching, which is very practice-oriented. The focus is on disease awareness and disease acceptance. During a burnout, relaxation procedures and mindfulness-based therapies have become established.
Source: Observer Guide “Quite Different” by Thomas Ihde-Scholl